What Is Kiwi?
Kiwi is a fruit that is native to China. It is considered a berry because it grows on vines. The most common variety is the fuzzy kiwifruit or Actinidia deliciosa. The mature fruit is about the size of a chicken egg, between 2 and 3 inches in length. Its appearance is brown and fuzzy on the outside with bright green flesh and rows of tiny black seeds on the inside. The flavor of kiwi is sweet and slightly acidic.
Uses Of Kiwi-fruit
Kiwi is commonly eaten raw, although some people prefer it as juice. Because of its bright appearance, it is often used as a garnish for dessert. One of the most common kiwi desserts is pavlova, a meringue-based dish. It is high in dietary fiber and vitamins C, E, and K. This fruit is also believed to have medicinal properties. In some studies, it has been shown to reduce incidences of asthma, wheezing, and other respiratory problems. Kiwi has also been linked to improved digestion in individuals with irritable bowel syndrome.
History And Cultivation Of The Kiwi-fruit
Although native to China, the kiwi fruit was not commercialized until it reached New Zealand in the early 20th century. The seeds were first planted in 1906 and produced fruit in 1910. By the 1940’s, it was cultivated commercially in New Zealand. This fruit became popular during World War II with American military members stationed here. It was first referred to as kiwi around 1959, and by 1974, that had become its official export name. In fact, the kiwi is also the national bird of New Zealand. By the 1980’s, other countries around the world began to produce and export kiwi.
Today, kiwi is grown in several countries around the world, mainly in temperate climates. It takes seedlings approximately seven years to flower and produce fruit. In order to save time, most plants are grafted onto an already producing plant. Cultivators plant 1 male plant for every 3 to 8 female vines to allow for pollination. Once mature, the fruit is harvested by hand with plants producing between 14,000 pounds and 18,000 pounds per acre, depending on the plant’s age.
Top Kiwi Producing Countries
The top kiwi producing country in the world is China, which has only recently become an international competitor. This country produces approximately 1,765,847 metric tons annually. Here, kiwi is grown in the southwestern mountainous areas and in the provinces of Shaanxi and Sichuan. Because it is a native fruit here, China is able to produce more varieties of kiwi. Major importers of Chinese kiwi include Japan, Russia, Korea, and France.
The second larger kiwi producer is Italy with 447,560 metric tons cultivated annually. Italy quickly became competitive in the international market by adapting kiwi to its pre-existing infrastructure for grape production. Since first introduced in 1970, Italian kiwi cultivation has been increasing every year. The biggest producers can be found in the following regions: Latina, Piedmont, Emilia Romagna, and Veneto. Today, Italy is responsible for around 70% of the kiwis produced in the northern hemisphere. A large percentage of its exports go to other European countries, including Germany, Spain, France, and Poland.
New Zealand is the third largest kiwi producing country. On average, this country cultivates approximately 382,337 metric tons per year. New Zealand is home to the Zespri company, one of the most recognized kiwi brands in the world. Today, this country has about 30% of the global market share; between 2008 and 2009, this share was valued at just over $1 billion.